NEWS

In Brief

COLD SNAP

Weather seen improving after some problems in northern Greece Weather conditions are expected to improve slightly across Greece today after a cold snap caused minor problems in northern parts of the country. A number of villages in mountain areas near Karditsa and Trikala were cut off due to snowfall, authorities said. Meanwhile, a 29-year-old driver was killed near Larissa when his car spun out of control due to icy conditions, according to police. Local authorities said that highways in the area remained open to drivers. Temperatures dropped to as low as -15 Celsius (5 Fahrenheit) in Florina and -10C (14F) in Grevena over the weekend. PORT STRIKE Workers walk off the job in protest at privatization plans Workers at the country’s two largest ports, Piraeus and Thessaloniki, have called a 24-hour strike for today to protest government plans to privatize freight terminal management services. The workers have called a second 24-hour strike for Friday as they argue the government can find an alternative solution to handing over the terminal services of each port to private investors. The state-owned ports are being privatized as part of the state’s sell-off plan for 2008 that is targeting revenues of 1.6 billion euros. Officials said that some problems started to arise at the ports yesterday after employees refused to work overtime as part of protest action. ABUSE ATTEMPT Houseguest charged with attack A 53-year-old man has been arrested in Athens after allegedly attempting to sexually abuse an 8-year-old girl last week, according to police. The man was staying at the girl’s home, a guest of the family, when he attempted to violently attack the girl, police added. The girl’s father threw the man out of the house shortly after the alleged attack took place but only reported the incident to police a few days later, authorities added. Businessman robbed Armed men robbed a business owner as he was parking his car at his western Athens home in Haidari and made off with the 170,000 euros he was carrying in his briefcase, police said yesterday. The holdup of the victim, who owns a gasoline wholesale business in central Athens, took place at around 10 p.m. on Saturday while the man was parking his car. Neither the victim nor his daughter, who was also in the car at the time of the theft, were hurt in the incident. Winter sales The Athens traders’ association announced that the winter sales period will start on January 15 and run through to February 28. Development Ministry inspection teams will be keeping an eye out for traders that illegally start sales ahead of the scheduled date. According to a survey conducted in Piraeus, about 80 percent of store owners are satisfied with the January 15 starting date for the sales period, that runs over six weeks. Cyprus violence Demonstrators opposed to the British presence on Cyprus threw fireworks and rocks at police in riot gear on Friday at the entrance to a British military base on the island. No serious injuries were reported and there were no arrests. Bases spokesman Captain Nick Ulvert told The Associated Press about 120 youths from a group called «Britain Reconsider» staged the protest outside the gates of RAF Akrotiri, near the southern resort town of Limassol. Bridge toll Drivers crossing over a bridge linking Rio in the northern Peloponnese with Antirio, western Greece, will pay a toll fee of 11.20 euros as of today, up from the previous charge of 10.90 euros. Motorcyclists will be charged 1.80 euros versus 1.70 euros previously. Officials said that charges for local residents who cross over the bridge and return within a two-hour time limit will remain the same. Patrons tied up Three armed men held up a bar in Peristeri, western Athens, on Saturday night, tying up up the owner and some 15 patrons in the nightspot before taking their money and jewelry, police said yesterday. The gang was leaving the scene when they encountered another man entering the bar, whose wallet and vehicle they also took. Police said the gang made off with an estimated 3,000 euros. Archbishop support More than half of Greeks do not want Archbishop Christodoulos to relinquish his post despite his ailing health, according to the results of a poll conducted on behalf of the Orthodox Church’s official newspaper Orthodox World. Out of a sample of 1,003 citizens, 57 percent said they did not want the archbishop to step down despite his battle with cancer. Of these, 67 percent believe that talk of his succession is premature while 68 percent oppose government intervention in likely elections to replace Christodoulos. Soccer violence The weekend’s round of Super League soccer action was blemished by off-field violence reported at two games in Athens and Thessaloniki. Yesterday, fighting broke out between a number of visiting Panionios fans and supporters of the host side Atromitos outside the latter’s stadium prior to kickoff. One home-team fan needed to be hospitalized. On Saturday, a 22-year-old man was arrested during Thessaloniki club Iraklis’s home game against Olympiakos after attacking a game security official with a fire extinguisher and then tossing it onto the pitch. No injuries were reported.